"Leadership is diving for a loose ball, getting the crowd involved, getting other players involved. It’s being able to take it as well as dish it out. That’s the only way you’re going to get respect from the players." - Larry Bird

Larry Legend on leadership.

Apr. 13, 1986 - Boston Celtics end the NBA season with a 40-1 home record

In 1985–86 the Boston Celtics fielded one of the best teams in NBA history. Under head coach K.C. Jones , the Celtics finished the regular season with a record of 67–15, going 40–1 at home (37–1 at the Boston Garden, 3–0 at the Hartford Civic Center). This team is generally considered to be the best of Larry Bird's career as he won his third consecutive MVP award after having arguably his finest season.

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Mar. 24, 1979 - Larry Bird (Indiana State) advances to face Magic Johnson (Michigan State) in the NCAA finals

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This was the first tournament in which all teams were seeded by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. The top six seeds in each regional received byes to the second round, while seeds 7-10 played in the first round. In the semi-finals, Larry Bird tallied 35 points, 16 rebounds,and 9 assists as Indiana State Sycamores advanced to the NCAA finals. Magic Johnson of Michigan State Spartans recorded a triple double 29 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists as they advance to NCAA finals. To this day, the 1979 NCAA finals remains the highest-rated game in the history of televised college basketball. Michigan State, coached by Jud Heathcote, defeated Indiana State coached by Bill Hodges, 75–64.

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Mar. 12, 1985 - Larry Bird scored a career high 60 points

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Larry Bird's scoring achievement came just nine days after teammate Kevin McHale scored a Boston Celtics record 56 points.

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"I really don’t count my shots. I just shoot until I feel good." - Larry Bird

Don’t even keep count.

Feb. 4, 1993 - The Boston Celtics retired Larry Bird’s #33

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Drafted into the NBA sixth overall by the Boston Celtics in 1978, Larry Bird started at small forward and power forward for thirteen seasons, spearheading one of the NBA’s most formidable frontcourts that included center Robert Parish and forward Kevin McHale.

Bird was a 12-time NBA All-Star and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times. He played his entire professional career for Boston, winning three NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVP awards. He finished his career with averages of more than 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists per game, while shooting 49.6% from the field, 88.6% from the free throw line and 37.6% from three-point range.

"Larry, you only told me one lie. You said there will be another Larry Bird. Larry, there will never, ever be another Larry Bird." —Magic Johnson, as quoted at Bird’s retirement party.

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"You could never back down. Once you do, people look at you different. You had to stand up for everything you believed in, even if it’s only playing basketball. If somebody took the gloves off and wanted to go, you had to go." - Larry Bird

Larry Legend.

"I like being by myself. I’m a loner. People would ask why I sat in my garage. I’d say, ‘I gotta sit somewhere.’" - Larry Bird

"I like being by myself. I’m a loner. People would ask why I sat in my garage. I’d say, ‘I gotta sit somewhere.’" - Larry Bird

Nov. 9, 1984 - Larry Bird and Julius “Dr J” Erving got into a fight during a game

Both teams came into this game undefeated, Philadelphia 76ers at 5-0 and Boston Celtics 4-0. The 76ers were the NBA Champions in 1983. The Celtics captured the NBA Championship title in 1984.

Larry Bird was ejected along with Julius “Dr J” Erving in the third quarter after an on court scuffle. At the point of both ejections, Bird had outscored Erving 42 to 6. During the game, Bird had continuously informed Erving of their tallies with every chance he got to score. Bird denies this stating that it was teammate “M.L. (Carr) talking trash from the bench” during that game. Eventually a shoving match ensued, then swings taken by both players, and finally a bench-clearing brawl.

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#ThrowbackThursdays

The numbers game.

Sept. 27, 1983 - Larry Bird signed a 7-year, $15 million contract with the Celtics

Larry Bird became the highest paid Celtic at the time.

In 1983-84 the Celtics would go 62-20 and finally get back to the NBA Finals after a three year hiatus. In the final, the Celtics came back from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers, winning their 15th championship. Bird renewed his college rivalry with Lakers star Magic Johnson during this series. After the series the Celtics traded Henderson, whose dramatic steal in game 2 altered the course of the series and gave the Celtics a chance, to the Seattle SuperSonics in exchange for their first round pick in the 1986 NBA Draft.

Aug. 18, 1992 - Larry Bird announced his retirement from basketball

Back Problems
Larry Bird had been bothered by back problems for years, and his back became progressively worse. After leading the Boston Celtics to a 29–5 start to the 1990–91 season, he missed 22 games due to a compressed nerve root in his back, a condition that would eventually lead to his retirement. He had off-season surgery to remove a disc from his back, but his back problems continued and he missed 37 games during the 1991–92 season. His past glory would be briefly rekindled, however, in a game that season in which he scored 49 points in a double-overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. During the 1992 Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bird missed four of the seven games in the series due to those recurring back problems.

Career Averages
He finished his career with averages of more than 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists per game, while shooting 49.6% from the field, 88.6% from the free throw line and 37.6% from three-point range. Following Bird’s departure, the Celtics promptly retired his jersey #33.

Aug. 8, 1992 - The ‘Dream Team’ won gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain

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ROSTER: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler, John Stockton, Karl Malone, David Robinson, Chris Mullen, Christian Laettner.

Head coach: Chuck Daly
Assistant coaches: Mike Krzyzewski, Lenny Wilkens, P.J. Carlesimo

The Dream Team was the first American Olympic team to feature active NBA players. Described by American journalists as the greatest sports team ever assembled, and called by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame “the greatest collection of basketball talent on the planet”, it defeated its opponents by an average of almost 44 points.

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"Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds." - Larry Bird

"Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds." - Larry Bird

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